- JDU to give 5 seats to Jitin Ram Manjhi
- BJP to accommodate Vikassheel Party
- LJP to go it alone
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and BJP president J.P. Nadda had met on Monday and finalized the seat-sharing formula. The LJP scare appears to have helped the BJP in scaling down the JDU number which was pitched much higher. The LJP leader Chirag Paswan would stick to his formula of contesting against the JDU candidates and supporting the BJP during and after the polls. Upendra Kushwaha of Rastriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) will have alliance with Mayavati’s Bahujana Samaj Party and Loktantrik Party (Socialist).
Chirag in aggressive mode
Meanwhile, problems had cropped up in the ruling alliance with Chirag launching a frontal attack on the chief minister for not listening to the alliance partners and to have admitted Jiten Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha into the NDA alliance. Chirag claims that he has not met the chief minister for over a year since he had not got any reply to the letters he had written to the CM on various public issues and governance problems. He claimed that Nitish Kumar is bent upon implementing “saath nischay” (seven promises) agenda basing on which he fought the last elections in RJD’s company. In essence, the LJP would fight the JDU and be friends with the BJP. Chirag said after the parliamentary party meeting in Delhi on Sunday that it is the firm opinion of his party that the BJP which is ruling in the Centre should be ruling in the State as well.
Ram Vilas Paswan, the founder of the LJP, could not attend the meeting as he has undergone heart surgery in Delhi on Saturday. He has been in the hospital for more than a month. Chirag has been canvassing for his party for almost a year with the slogan, “BJP se bair nahin, Nitish teri khair nahi” meaning there is no enmity with the BJP and Nitish would not be spared. In the talks among the ruling alliance partners, the LJP was offered some 25 seats to contest. According to the latest plan, the LJP will contest 143 seats putting up candidates against the JDU and Jiten Ram’s party candidates. It would not field candidates against the BJP. Moreover, it is willing to accommodate BJP candidates to contest on its ticket in the constituencies allocated to the JDU. It will also work to make a BJP leader the chief minister.
The BJP leadership has been watching the developments carefully. The party’s central election committee had met yesterday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Bihar elections in-charge Devendra Fadnavis were present. Senior BJP leaders from Bihar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Mangal Pande, Prem Kumar and others, have been meeting the central leaders of the party in Delhi.
JDU leaders keep an eye
JDU leaders also have been keeping an eye on the developments vis-à-vis LJP and BJP. The JDU has sent its list of candidates to the BJP leadership. The JDU and the BJP are natural allies and this type of experiments (such as the one being suggested by LJP) have no value, Rajiv Ranjan, JDU spokesman said in Patna. JDU senior leaders such as KCP Singh were confabulating with Nitish Kumar. Jarkhand Mukti Morcha leader and chief minister, Hemanth Soren, had met RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav in jail and proposed to contest Bihar elections together.
Yet another front has come up under the leadership of Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP)’s Upendra Kushwaha in alliance with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Jantantrik Party (Socialist). Upendra said his front is not meant to split the opposition vote. “Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has misruled the State for 15 years and the people want that his rule has to end. The RJD does not have a capable chief ministerial face. It is not a viable alternative to the JDU-BJP dispensation,” he said. Upendra has refused to recognize Tejashwi, Lalu’s son, as a credible chief ministerial candidate.
BJP voters confused
A small part of the Opposition vote will be taken away by the RLSP front while that of the ruling alliance will be going to LJP. In the sum, RLSP will cancel the LJP and the balance between the JDU-BJP alliance and RJD-Congress grand alliance would remain the same. With the BJP voters confused at least in half of the 243 constituencies, the ruling alliance would be badly affected if the BJP did not lend clearly to its attitude towards the LJP.